Raytheon UK | Set to integrate UK’s first laser weapon system
Defence Redefined
Published on 15/09/2023 at 18:08

Raytheon UK is set to deliver soon its first high-energy laser weapon system to the United Kingdom, marking a significant advancement in the understanding of how such systems can be fielded. 

Designed to neutralize aerial threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), this 15-kilowatt laser is the latest development in the UK Ministry of Defence’s Land Demonstrator programme. Raytheon UK was contracted in 2021 to develop and install the laser system on a UK Wolfhound armoured vehicle. 

According to the manufacturer, the high-energy laser weapon system has performed in multiple field tests, including in difficult weather conditions with extreme heat, cold, rain, sleet and snow. During four days of live-fire exercises earlier this year in the United States, the system successfully acquired, tracked, targeted and destroyed dozens of UAV targets in short-range attack, swarm attack and long-range threat scenarios.

Raytheon’s high-energy laser weapon system is compact, portable, can be installed on a variety of platforms, and easily connects to other air defence systems. With a deep, rechargeable magazine and minimal logistics, this laser weapon is an affordable and viable option to protect military and critical infrastructure, and rapidly defeat threats. 

Also read: Lockheed Martin | Tactical Airborne Laser Weapon System is here. A potential choice for F-16V – VIDEO

The system offers a nearly infinite number of shots and precision accuracy with very low collateral damage, making it an affordable alternative to conventional munitions.

Raytheon UK is building on the success of US investment, where a total of eight high-energy laser weapons have been delivered to the US military. These systems have defeated more than 400 targets over 25,000 operational hours. 

The company has developed integrated, high-performing sensors and cost-effective kinetic and non-kinetic effectors to defeat threats more efficiently. This provides the capability to select the right effectors against a range of threats.

The delivery of the first system to the UK comes as Raytheon UK officially opens its new, advanced laser integration centre in Livingston, Scotland. 

The centre, first announced in July 2022, focuses on the testing, fielding and maintenance of Raytheon’s defensive laser weapons and is a regional hub established to ensure that laser weapons can be quickly fielded, maintained and repaired.

Also read: DragonFire | Static high power laser weapon system successfully trialled




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